Lockdown: People unhappy with vehicle ban

Many wonder how they will go to markets without vehicles to bring back groceries

As the countdown to what is being termed a more stringent lockdown in Karnataka begins, most people are taking exception to one of the guidelines — not being able to take out vehicles even during the permitted hours. While the government made it clear that the guidelines were aimed at curbing unnecessary movement of people, citizens say it will lead to some inconvenience.

The guidelines state that “no vehicles will be allowed to be used by persons for taking parcels/takeaway. Only movement by walk is allowed for this purpose”. However, hotels, restaurants, and eateries can use vehicles for home delivery.

Lakshmi, a resident of Gubblala, pointed out that for those in nuclear families who are managing work, children, and household chores without any help, it could pose an issue.

“Mornings are busy with cooking and completing chores. And you are under pressure to start office work. So ideally, one parent stays back at home to look after the child while the other goes out to buy stuff. The quickest way is to go by a two-wheeler so that you can finish everything in minimum time. The no-vehicle rule poses a challenge to this,” she said.

She added that although deliveries are available, there are no slots.

Many asked how they would go to markets without vehicles to bring back groceries. The no-vehicle rule has also left those who vend at popular markets in the city at a crossroads.

The guidelines says shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, and animal fodder will be allowed to function from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. “Sale of vegetables and fruits through pushcarts is allowed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” state the guidelines.

However, G.M. Diwakar, president, K.R. Market Flower Merchants’ Association, said with the market closed from five days, around 5% of vendors were selling on the roadside. “These goods are perishable. One year’s investment will go down the drain for farmers. Liquor has been given consideration because of the income it generates for the government, but what about farmers’ income?” he said.

While he said the permission to pushcart vendors would help, he added that not everyone will benefit. “In Shantinagar, for example, we from the association have made it possible for some farmers to sell their produce directly to customers. But vegetable farmers usually grow one kind of produce. It is not feasible for them to sell just one type of produce on the roadside. During the lockdown with a limited four-hour window, people find it more convenient to buy all their fresh produce from one vendor,” he said.

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